Body boarding and Bodysurfing in Big Island
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Body boarding and Bodysurfing
According to the movies, in the Old West there was always friction between cattle ranchers and sheep ranchers. Sometimes a similar situation exists between surfers and body boarders. That's why they generally keep to their own separate surfing areas. Often the body boarders stay closer to shore and leave the outside breaks to the board surfers. Or the board surfers may stick to one side of the beach and the body boarders to the other. The truth is, body boarding (often called "boogie boarding" in homage to the first commercial manufacturer of this slick little flexible foam board) is a blast. The only surfers who don't also sometimes carve waves on a body board are hardcore purists, and almost none of that type live on this island.
Novice body boarders should catch shore-break waves only. Ask lifeguards or locals for the best spots. You'll need a pair of short fins to get out to the bigger waves offshore (not recommended for newbies). As for bodysurfing, just catch a wave and make like Superman going faster than a speeding bullet.
Equipment rental shacks are located at many beaches and boat harbors, along the highway, and at most resorts. Body board rental rates are around $12–$15 per day and around $60 per week. Ask the vendor if he'll throw in a pair of fins—some will for no extra charge.
Orchid Land Surf Shop. This shop has a wide variety of surf and other water sports equipment for sale or rent. It stocks professional custom surfboards, body boards, and surf apparel, and also does repairs. You can rent a body board for $12 a day, a surfboard for $20 a day. 262 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, HI, 96720. 808/935–1533. www.orchidlandsurf.com.
Pacific Vibrations. This family-owned surf shop—in business 35 years—holds the distinction of being the oldest, smallest surf shop in the world. Even at a compact 400 square feet, this place stocks tons of equipment, surf wear, surf gear, and GoPro cameras. You can rent a surfboard (under $20), stand-up paddleboard, or body board—$5 a day but you have to buy or bring your own fins. Right in the heart of downtown Kailua Town, it's worth a stop for the authentic Hawaii surf vibe. 75-5702 Likana La. #B, at Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740. 808/329–4140.
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